Friday, August 31, 2007

The SUFFERING JESUS

The Suffering JESUS... is not a popular topic among most evangelicals, nor charismatics, nor most of the main-line groups.

I ran into this... um, thought... at a prayer meeting about 30 years ago where the main speaker was a Roman Catholic priest, a dear brother who was alive in The LORD. He spoke about repentance being the key to becoming close to The LORD JESUS. He shared about his experience hearing confessionals... something we of a non-Roman background were rather squeamish about.

It seems there were some nuns whose main focus was on the suffering JESUS. Their purpose in life was to associate themselves... to identify themselves... with His+ agony and sufferings.
Well, needless to say, we were NOT INTERESTED. We wanted the victorious JESUS Who+ overwhelmed His+ enemies... and ours! We were not interested in going the 2nd mile nor turning the other cheek, having once been slugged. So, it was a restless bunch of baby Christians listening to this good brother that night.

But, being a Franciscan, this brother knew the fruitfulness of chastity, obedience, and poverty. He said hearing the confessions of these sisters was like being pelted with cotton puffs. The sisters were sorry, contrite, and ashamed of their sins before GOD. The priests who heard the confessions were even MORE sorry, contrite and ashamed... and often, the priests were the ones in tears, hidden in the privacy of the confessional booths. The innocence and purity of the sisters brought conviction to the hearts of the priests who were sent to hear their confessions.

He related about the time he was called to hear the confessions of one of those nuns in this Order of the SUFFERING JESUS. She was dying of cancer. It had eaten away half of her face. Knowing she was dying, all she could do was to give thanks to The LORD for going before her in His+ agony of suffering. She thanked Him+ for bearing such pain, willingly, for her sins. She knew, just knew, that His+ pain was worse that anything she was called upon to bear. The priest said he left in tears.

The sister was in joy. She had trained herself to identify with CHRIST JESUS, the Suffering Savior, so much so that any pain she had to bear called her into a time of thanksgiving. She thanked HIM+ for reminding her that HE+ bore with patience His+ agony and pain... for us sinners... simply because HE+ loved us. HE+ bore His+ pain because that was the only way to free us from sin... from the grip of the devil... from the depths of Gehenna after death. Furthermore, HE+ did it without complaining, willingly, knowing it was the will of HIS+ FATHER.

Like church bells ringing, pain became the reminder for these sisters of our Savior's agony for us. So, pain and suffering became a time to turn to The LORD in thanksgiving, first of all. Yes, it was a time to ask HIM+ for healing and mercy... but also a time to learn obedience... like HIM+... in the things that are suffered. They learned to identify themselves, in humility, with the Suffering One.

Because of their embracing the Suffering JESUS, they had peace in Him+. These sisters learned not to fight "for their own rights." They learned to yield at all times, in HIM+. They had peace in His+ will. Thus, they could minister peace to anyone who was suffering. The result was that they had an anointing upon them to turn others to The LORD during their suffering... and in their own.

Yes, we know the LORD can and does heal and work out situations that are impossible, humanly speaking. But, the Suffering JESUS is to be embraced as well as the victorious JESUS.

Let us be content to let The LORD JESUS reign.

Let GOD be GOD !